Mali vs Ivory Coast: Wilfried Zaha's strike sends the Elephants to AFCON quarters
- Mali vs Ivory Coast finished 1-0 in favour of the Elephants
- The lone goal scored by Wilfried Zaha was enough to send Ivory Coast to AFCON quarters
- The west African nation will now take on Algeria in the next round of the tournament
Wilfried Zaha's solitary goal was enough to secure Ivory Coast a place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter finals as the Elephants stunned Mali 1-0 in a tough round of 16 clash played at New Suez Stadium.
Ivory Coast, one of the tournmanet's favourites, were keen to avoid falling victim to the latest AFCON upset as they took on a motivated Mali side on the evening of Monday, July 8.
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Les Aigles qualified for the knockout stages as undefeated group winners, but came into the match as outsiders to pull off a victory owing to Ivory Coast's superior head-to-head record.
However, the Mohamed Magassouba-tutored side managed to take charge of proceedings as their opponents struggled to settle in.
Mali's incisive attacking skills nearly earned them the lead moments before the break via Moussa Marega, with the Porto forward shooting from a tight angle only to find the side of the net.
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With the first half finishing goalless, the two teams had a bright start when they resumed hostilities, even as Mali came close to scoring in the 52nd through Djenepo.
However, the Southampton new signing could not shoot as he fluffed on the ball before stumbling.
Aware of their opponents' threat, Ivory Coast broke the deadlock through Wilfried Zaha who sidefooted past the advancing but poorly positioned Diarra to make it 1-0 in the 76th minute.
Mali's only realistic chance of equalising came in the dying minutes of the match, but Adama Traores shot was calmly saved as the match finished 1-0 in favour of Ivory Coast.
The West Africa giants will now take on Algeria in the next round of the tournament.
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